Pupils at a new Birmingham school were given some extra assistance on their first week back – from the Prime Minister.

David Cameron joined youngsters attending the new Perry Beeches III school yesterday, one of three new “free schools” that have opened in the city.

Free schools are state-funded, but are not controlled by local authorities, and Mr Cameron said Perry Beeches – which has gone from being one of the country’s worst to one of its best schools – showed what was possible.

The number of free schools, which were introduced by the coalition government, in the region has risen to 14 – almost twice as many as this time last year – and Reach, in Moseley, and St George’s Academy, in Newtown have also opened this week.

This comes as the schools system creaks under rising demand with the Local Government Association claiming almost half in England will have more primary pupils than places within two years

 

Mr Cameron told the Mail: “The evidence with free schools that have been going so far shows that more than two-thirds have been rated good or outstanding.

“Here in Birmingham it is particularly exciting because we have Perry Beaches. The original school was the most improved school ever, which went from 20 per cent to 80 per cent A-star to C grades in six or seven years, so we have got a brilliant team here which is embracing this.”

Mr Cameron said almost all of the mainstream free schools opening in the region are in areas with a need for more school places. When full, these schools will create almost 2,000 new places.

He said the increase in the number of new free schools underlines the desire among teachers, parents, local communities to set up their own schools.

Liam Nolan, executive principal of the Perry Beeches Academy Trust, said the new school, on Newhall Street, had been a hit with parents.

He said: “Pupils at the academy have achieved incredible results and all of our schools are extremely popular with parents. Perry Beeches III, with its city centre location, will continue our quest to give pupils a high-quality education that will prepare them for the future.”